Speaking for Kitopi, Ekta Bhojwani answered that the first move was to make sure all certifications were up to date. As a cloud kitchen business it was also a matter of also investing in technologies such as thermal cameras to track fevers or automated cameras to prevent any violations and making sure that everyone on premises is wearing masks. Duncan Fraser Smith raised the question of how visible do operators need to make these sanitization efforts visible. "There is nothing worse than walking into a restaurant and having someone poke a thermometer at your forehead before sitting you down at your table." According to him, investments in sanitization should be in ways to monitor, track and test in ways that won't invade the dining experience. Other panelists agreed that there is a need to balance reassurance for the customers while not impacting the dining experience. "One of the initiatives the Saudi government is currently working on is the installation of public cameras inside restaurants kitchens." Announced Prince Waleed. "The challenge is how much are we willing to invest in technology if deep down we believe that the crisis won't last."
"Working in a cloud kitchen environment, we are actually more akin to a manufacturing facility than a restaurant kitchen, which allows us for more space, less contact between employees and it's easier for us to be more rigorous than a traditional kitchen environment. Having done business on three continents, I can say that the Middle Eastern requirements for hygiene rules and standards are far stricter than other places - even pre-corona." continued Schatzberg. "Adding cameras in the kitchens... well I don't know if consumers want to know what goes on behind the scenes" he mused, "but I agree - how far can you take it without ruining the experience? In virtual kitchens we have the liberties to have our staff working in hazmat suits without putting the customers off their experience while safeguarding them simultaneously. As a consumer I would want to enjoy my experience without the constant reminder of what we are in the middle of."
Also representing virtual kitchens, Bhojwani explained that while Kitopi does the cooking, the brands they cook for shoulder the communication to their end users, and get to control the communication around the hygiene and safety. "What we found in our research is that consumers are not so much concerned about what's going on in the kitchen, but more concerned about the touchpoints such as the drivers, how the food is handled in transit etc. So we worked with our partners and aggregators to sometime identify drivers who need more training, supplying gloves and sanitization on the spot."